Lakeland / St. Petes / Okeechobee MX / Vero Beach : Jan 16-20 |
It's Monday Jan 21st. Martin Luther King Day. I decide on an easy breakfast at McD's in Vero Beach, and I see it must have rained the night before.
Continuing north on A1A, which follows a series of key-like islands just off the east coast. The Indian River Lagoon is what separates the mainland from these islands. I cross from one island to the next along a causeway, with the weather looking ominous, hoping I won't get dumped on.
Next is a lookout onto the Atlantic.
This section of A1A leading to Cocoa Beach is very straight and narrow. On my right is the Atlantic,
and on my left is the Indian River Lagoon. And the weather looks like it's starting to clear, which is great.
Oops, looks like this rider got in trouble, I don't want to know.
Next I witness a crane putting the finishing touches on a church. It's not often you see these work vehicles in such a live situation.
I stopped by this scooter rental outfit that also rents out funny cars. They look like bumper cars, a three wheeled frame with Craig Vetter bodywork.
Apparently classified as a motorcycle by street laws.
Just north of Cocoa Beach and south of Cape Canaveral is Port Canaveral, a major docking area for cruise ships.
I ride around there a while, reminding myself I'd much rather be on my MZ than take a cruise.
Next, is the turn-off for the Kenndy Space Center which I have to check out of course. Like wow, this really has turned out to be a beautiful day.
Time for lunch. I elect the easy way out. Robotically served food at Subway.
The route to KSC is straight and boring like many other roads in Florida.
I do take note of this ghost bicycle, marking the site of a fallen cyclist. Apparently there's a whole website dedicated to mapping these out.
I pull up the Kennedy Space Center but given they want $10 for parking alone plus who knows how much to enjoy the facilities, I gave it a pass.
A sign announces the opening of the Shuttle Atlantis display to the public sometime in the summer of 2013. That gives me an incentive to return, meanwhile I enjoy the free outside sites such as this rocket used during the Mercury program.
The area around KSC is very flat. You can see the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) in the background across the lagoon, used to prepare the Shuttle for launch. Again, if I had my NASA badge, I might have been able to get past the gate as a visitor and ride right up to that.
Down the road from the visitor's center is the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Something else I could have gotten into if I had my badge. Then again, that would have really slowed down progress of my trip.
The shuttle you see here is one of the mock-ups. It was not flown. Next, I follow FL 405 to Titusville to meet up with US 1, crossing yet another causeway.
I take another causeway just north of town to get back on Merritt Island, the conservation area just north of KSC / Cape Canaveral.
I arrive at the north gate of the KSC complex. Given all the riding I did to get around KSC, it sure would have been a shortcut if I could have ridden through.
Seems odd to have traffic lights in the middle of nowhere. My guess they are needed during normal workdays to control traffic coming in and out of the north gate, but on Martin Luther King Day, there's no soul.
I continue through the Merritt Island conservation area, being delayed by a drawbridge.
I continue on through non-descript marshland, noting that I'm getting dangerously low on gas. I sure hope I reach civilization soon before I run out.
At last, I meet up with US 1, so I'll find a gas station soon enough.
I cross another causeway at Edgewater to get back on A1A, arriving in the coastal area of New Smyrna Beach
A1A is marked as a county road. According to my map the route south from here hits a dead end at a state park.
As expected, condos line the beachfront.
This one here (Moontide) is particularly cavernous.
The parking area looks like a maze.
As I exit the parking platform, I note the diminutive size of my bike against this giant structure.
The parking area so designed to withstand hurricanes.
It's hard to believe, but you can actually drive and park along the beach.
For fun I continue on, the road marked by yellow cones, though it gets tough to steer at times when my wheels sink into the sand and my tires aren't the knobby kind.
I get a pose before I decide I've had enough of the novelty. Someone told me I could ride as far as Daytona but it would be slow going, not to mention getting sand and salt all over my bike, adding extra cleaning and maintenance.
It is neat to ride along the beach, though I decide to exit.
At the northern end of New Smyrna Beach is the Ponce Inlet Coast Guard.
I cross back to US 1 on the northern causeway, this one accented in coral pink.
The view provides some impressive private docks.
Instead of getting to US 1, I decide to take a riverside drive, still in New Smyrna Beach.
Reaching US 1, I spot this motorcycle cop near the New Smyrna Beach Airport. No, I didn't get pulled over, he just let me take his picture.
Continuing on, I note the Dairy Queen with both the old and new style signs.
A bridge crosses another channel to Harbor Oaks.
There's a nice waterfront restaurant (Hidden Treasure). I wonder if Robert Irvine of Restaurant Impossible has been through there.
Once again I'm on a causeway, this time to get from US 1 to A1A in Daytona, so I get a great view of the place that's getting all the rave reviews among bikers.
From the same vantage point looking south.
Next I ride down the main strip (A1A) in Daytona, imagining how busy this must be during Bike Week in March. It's relatively deserted today. Of course much of it is just one condo after another.
This tower with a petal-like top catches my eye. Looks like classic 1960s / early 1970s to me.
Ahh, now the famous entry to the beach that we've all seen in the magazines. Can you imagine how busy this would be during Bike Week?
Here you can ride right onto the beach, but right now it's closed due to high tide. Besides I've already had enough of the novelty of riding on the beach.
Next up, the Desert Inn, a Las-Vegas looking name and sign.
There's only so many photos of condos I need to take before boring you to death but these have an odd cubic architecture.
Those condos are at the north end of Daytona, bordering with Ormond Beach, the next town up.
Ormond Beach claims to be the birthplace of Speed. And I thought that was Daytona because of its world famous Speedway (which I didn't have time to seek out). Sure enough Ormond's claim goes back to 1903.
A private drive of mobile homes juxtaposed against yet another condo.
Finally getting out of the greater Daytona area, continuing on A1A, things quickly turn desolate and peaceful.
Dubbed a scenic highway, I certainly can agree.
Continuing north I pass through Flagler Beach.
A1A continues along the coast, and quite empty, except for some high-end housing along the beachfront. Note the hurricane withstanding designs.
Crossing the Matanzas bridge, admiring the neat shadow my bike casts against the barrier.
Looking north and it's getting late in the day, and soon approaching the historic city of St. Augustine.
That, I think will be an excellent place to spend the night. So click here to continue on with the trip.